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Old 09-01-2012, 01:42 PM
vifslan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 163
Roderick Femm, if you're still reading, see if your local library has a book called "Coffee: A guide to buying, roasting, and brewing", by Kenneth Davids, as, IIRC, he spends the first chapters outlining the differences in coffee culture between America, Northern and Southern Europe. Generally, the further south in Europe you go, the darker the coffee roast.

Now for some anecdotal experiences of a coffeehound Finn:

Espresso, cappuccino, latte etc. are still defined as "specialty coffee" in Finland and Scandinavia. Go anywhere and ask for a cup of coffee, what you'll get will be filter coffee, the most usual brand (in Finland, that is) being Juhla Mokka, as far as I've been able to tell, a Santos/Colombia blend at about city roast (though the roastery has been experimenting with darker roasts lately). Greek/Turkish only in ethnic restaurants, and only if you're lucky enough to stumble upon a genuine one. My own experiments with Turkish coffee had to wait until I got a coffee grinder.

My experience with coffee on the North American continent extends to a ten-day stay in Quebec City, Canada, so I don't as yet have all that much data. But generally, my colleagues and I stuck to espresso-based drinks since we (independently from each other) thought the local drip coffee was impossible to like. One technical difference I noticed was that the hotel-room coffee maker (Mr. Coffee brand, about one quart capacity, the one most of my alt.coffee Usenet buddies had condemned) had a flat filter basket instead of the conical Melitta style that is the European Gold standard for home coffee machines. That makes a difference, as you get a deeper bed of coffee in a cone, prolonging the extraction time and bringing the coffee up to full strength. Also, I suspect the different voltage might play a role.

So technical reasons for smaller servings of European filter coffee: Darker roasts, hotter water, more coffee grounds per cup, different extraction method. And culture plays a part, but the aforementioned Mr. Davids will tell you more about that.